Work at the Clay Field is one sensorimotor art therapy approach which accesses the wisdom of the body which can be beneficial in therapy for recovery from, childhood experiences of abuse, trauma as well as states relating to anxiety, depression and stress.
Increasingly working with the wisdom of the body or the bottom up approach is considered “gold standard”* in resolving trauma. Work at the clayfield may also benefit children with developmental challenges, ADHD and trauma. Work at the Clay Field is an intricate interaction between human neurobiology and expressions of lived experiences. This unique art therapy process provides opportunity for healing of attachment and developmental trauma.** German art therapist Professor Heinz Deuser developed this approach over the past 40 years.
“The Clay Field is a flat rectangular wooden box that holds 10 – 15 kg of clay. A bowl of water is supplied. This simple setting offers a symbolic “world” for the hands to explore. There will be no art work to be taken home.”
With eyes closed through the sense of touch, the hands interact with clay: digging, penetrating, smoothing, caressing, building and pushing. A bowl of warm water is supplied and the hands are encouraged to move in the clay. There is no object to create, no expectations to make something just simple to follow the innate promptings of the hands. This unique interaction between the sense of touch with the clay and the hand brain connection that stimulates an instant feedback loop. Here the hands are used as a tool of perception and this is known as haptic perception.
Our hands provide a way in which our body can tell the story of what has happened and importantly what now needs to happen for recovery and healing.
Whatever therapy is undertaken, the approach must be able to address three dimensions of human experience, our thinking, our emotions feelings and our sensory experiences ( Ogden, Minton & Pain, 2006: Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy). Work at the clay field is one therapeutic approach that allows the body to speak which can give rise to insights that can profoundly aid in healing.
What happens in a session at the Clay Field?
The session duration is approximately 50 mins to one hour in duration. You are gently encouraged to become aware of and to allow your hands to find your unique movements in the clay. Generally there is very little verbal interaction during the time however from time to time to assist you in the process Robyn may enquire with gentle questioning, or responses. With confidence in the wisdom of the human body, Robyn accompanies you through the process with your hands as your internal guide.
There may be, if it is appropriate and desired, some time towards to end of the session some speaking and exchange between yourself and Robyn. However this is not necessarily needed nor sought.